TRAGIC – Teachers Rally Against Georgia Insurance Changes

The Facebook page TRAGIC  (Teachers Rally Against Georgia Insurance Change) is a noble cause but totally misdirected. The group started by Ashley Cline are upset (rightly so) because of changes in the Georgia State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) that came to light on 1/1/2014.

Mrs. Cline is upset with the state for the plan changes. If she doesn’t like the plan she should petition her school board to get their own plan, separate from the SHBP. Marching on the state capital (as they plan to do) is a waste of time and effort.

Actually, benefit changes were announced during open enrollment in October, 2013 but the reality of the changes didn’t hit this group of (mostly) teachers until last week when some of them actually tried to use their plan.

TRAGIC is upset over benefit changes in the SHBP. They want to blame the Governor and believe their protests will restore their “old” benefit plan.

It won’t.

Higher premiums, higher deductibles, higher out of pocket, elimination of copay’s and skinny doctor networks are a direct result of Obamacare. The benefit reductions they are experiencing today were set in motion 4 years ago with the signing of ACA.

Teachers Rallying Against Georgia Insurance Changes (TRAGIC) already has some 4,000 members who have signed a petition to oppose the state’s health insurance.

The new insurance plan affects not only teachers but an estimated 650,000 state employees.

Teachers said the plan they were forced to sign up for has higher premiums and fewer benefits.

CBS Atlanta

Actually, no one was forced to sign anything. Coverage was offered during open enrollment. Members could sign up for coverage or not.

Having gone through the enrollment process myself, I can say there was no coercion. I will also say that details on the plan were sketchy at best and incomplete.

In some cases we were totally misled.

Our benefit package indicated the plan would use the BCBSGA PPO network. Two weeks ago we discovered the PPO network would not be used but instead our plan had the much smaller and more restrictive POS network.

Fewer doctors. Fewer hospitals.

We also found out that the Rx benefit (administered by Express-Scripts) was NOT part of the health insurance plan. As a completely separate benefit drug claims do not accrue toward the major medical deductible or the out of pocket maximum.

This is where the wrath of TRAGIC should be directed.

Instead they are taking out their frustrations on the Governor’s office in hopes of restoring United Healthcare, the former TPA for SHBP.

Changing benefit administrators won’t bring back the old plan with copay’s and lower deductibles. TRAGIC is in denial about the real culprit.

Obamacare.

TRAGIC is encouraging teachers and state workers to call the governor’s office and express their concerns about the healthcare plan.

“It’s just another attack on teachers from the state government,” said John Carter, a middle school band teacher. “That’s all it is. It is a cash grab, and there’s no other way to put it.  It’s balancing our state budget on the backs of our teachers.”

No, it isn’t.

It is all about Obamacare.

TRAGIC needs to come out of the ether.